Ideologues are problem

A Letter to the Editor from Lawrence H. Geller that appeared in the Local two weeks ago, entitled “Hardly the Ones to Lecture Others,” rips the U.S. government for its alleged hypocrisy in lecturing other countries about human rights. I have no interest in debating Mr. Geller regarding the appropriateness of such lecturing by our government inasmuch as it is eminently clear to me that nothing I might say would dissuade him from issuing his unrelenting tirades attacking the actions of the U.S. in international affairs.

It would please me no end if the U.S. could always satisfactorily resolve differences with other countries through diplomacy. But we don’t live in that sort of world. Our world is extremely complicated, as are relationships and dealings between countries, so it should not shock or surprise Mr. Geller that our government occasionally miscalculates and commits errors of judgment.

To put it simply, we are not a perfect nation. But most of the open-minded people in this world, including the tens of millions who hunger to reside on these shores, know that this nation is generous beyond comparison in countless respects and steeped in traditions of freedom, democracy, and human dignity (even if some of those traditions have on occasion followed somewhat bumpy paths).

And they also know that our political leaders are essentially decent people who typically try their best to make responsible choices and decisions based on what is thought to be in the best interests of those who are the focus of attention. And we should never forget that our system of government does offer varied means of seeking redress if someone objects to our country’s policies.

I am not suggesting that Mr. Geller ought to totally change his stripes and become an unflinching American patriot. On the other hand, his history of unabashed attacks on the U.S. lowers him to the level of those American politicians, about whom I suspect Mr. Geller would be the first to be critical, who see events through their prism only, and who are unwilling to moderate their views in order that productive dialogue can occur. Those sorts of Americans bring nothing to the table that advances the causes of goodwill and conciliation.

Curt Pontz

Mt. Airy

A thought for trees near power lines

Just a thought regarding trees in Chestnut Hill and surrounding areas that have the misfortune of being located next to power lines.

I appreciate the fact that we need to prepare for dangerous weather conditions, but the results of the trimming in many cases show disregard for their beauty and health. Some of the trees in the area are so ravaged and disfigured that they show no resemblance to their once majestic being.

Trimming is a short-term solution, because replacement branches will grow faster and are weaker ensuring future work for tree cutters. A reasonable solution to this problem might be, with the advice of an arborist, and if the tree can’t be trimmed and still maintain its integrity, to take it down and replace it with a tree species that can achieve its full size and not interfere with wires.

Chestnut Hill is the “Garden District of Philadelphia,” and with the ongoing effort to “Re-tree the Avenue,” it seems like a good time to address this issue.

As Teddy Roosevelt said, “the nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

Carolyn Simons

Chestnut Hill

Dog bite? Call Dr. McDreamy

Stacia’s Friedman’s report about her Chestnut Hill Hospital’s ER experience, particularly with Dr. McDreamy (“A night in Chestnut Hill Hospital ER with ‘Dr. McDreamy,’” (Sept. 24), reminded me of our visits to the Princeton ER in the ’70s, where we were cared for by a Dr. Sparrow. He resembled George Peppard, the hunky hero of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the “A-Team.”

My late husband was the first to be treated by him for a rabid dog bite, then a daughter with severe poison ivy and so on. Needless to say, I was the first to volunteer to accompany any family member in need of treatment where Dr. Sparrow was presiding.

Marilyn Steeg

Fort Washington

Scary ‘police state’ tactics, Mr. Mayor

My daughter and I went to the Papal Mass on Sept. 27. We took the Chestnut Hill train, which was more than half-empty. We waited several hours but still did not get into the Mass.

That was very disappointing, but I will say it was very uplifting to meet so many friendly people from all over the country and other countries. I have never been in such a large group where people were so nice to each other, despite the feeling of being in a police state. There were police and military people everywhere telling you what to do. It was intimidating and scary.

But the real reason I am writing is about an incident we witnessed near Broad and Pine. City workers wearing shirts with a big “L & I” on them were harassing vendors and even confiscating their merchandise – t-shirts and other items with the Pope’s face on them.

The vendors were complaining, of course. They were a mile away from the site of the Mass and could not possibly be considered a security problem. But the L & I people were downright nasty. I could not help thinking that the vendors, who had thick accents, probably came to the U.S. to escape from police states, and then they are treated the same way in the City of Brotherly Love.

I heard Mayor Nutter blame the fact that Center City businesses had almost no customers on the news media. Well, Mr. Mayor, the news media did not close down the Ben Franklin Bridge and the major highways and so many center city streets, and they did not treat the vendors struggling to feed their families like terrorists. Mr. Mayor, your representatives did that.

Nancy Davies


Concert by Katz purrs

The concert of Sharon Katz and her band, The Peace Train, at the East Falls Presbyterian Church Saturday night was great! We had a good turnout, and the Chestnut Hill Local ad, color picture and “things to do” weekend section really helped.

We had a surge in sales right at the end, and Sharon was so pleased that the Chestnut Hill Local had been so gracious in the extra plugs. She must have bought a copy because she spoke highly of the coverage. So thank you!

You and all involved really helped boost not only our sales but our spirits after your paper came out as we waited to see if folks would indeed show up on what was a cold, dreary night!

Also, Sharon’s documentary has already won three awards at the World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, D.C. They won Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Soundtrack! The name of the documentary is “When Voices Meet,” and it will be premiered here at the Philadelphia Film Festival on Oct. 25 at the Prince Theater and Nov. 1 at the Roxy Theater!

Brenda Brown

Mt. Airy